This weekend kicked off the first series of Premier Events in the 2012-13 season in the Pokemon TCG. Autumn Battle Roads began all over the country. For the Fincastle Gym, the closest event was the North Carolina mini-marathon, consisting of 3 tournaments over 3 days (Sat-Mon in Mocksville, Cornelius and High Point). Play!Pokemon has implemented several major changes to the point structure that eventually leads to World Championship invitations. To make a long story shorter, all point totals have been multiplied times ten (40 championship points last year will now be equivalent to 400). They’ve added kickers to all events, meaning points will be awarded further down the ladder at events where attendance in larger. The flip-side of that is that points are not awarded past the top spot(s) at events
where attendance is small. Basically, they have added potential point payouts to the Masters division (where there is usually more players) and made it very difficult for Seniors and Juniors to earn any points at all without winning 1st place at events (as small turnouts will not even award points to the runner-up). To temper this a little, they have created a set point total of 400 points necessary to earn the World Championship invitation, meaning everyone who achieves that total will get an invitation (as opposed to taking the top 40 in North America). Good move? Only time will tell. We only went into that detail because it will help make a little sense of this weekend’s results.
Gym Leader Logan played, for the first time, in the Senior Division. The new format had changed the game quite a bit from what we are used to. With that in mind, Logan set out with one deck in mind for the weekend. Over the 3 tournaments, Logan saw quite a variety in decks. Darkrai EX variants still seemed to be the most played decks. The introduction of Rayquaza EX and its potentially “unlimited” damage output made it a popular addition to Eel-based decks. He saw some interesting plays as well, such as Ho-oh EX and several decks with Registeel EX. Logan went 7-5 overall for the weekend, finishing 2-2 on Saturday and Monday. He went 3-1 on Sunday in Cornelius, finishing 3rd overall. However, he was denied any championship points because the Seniors field needed one more player to activate the “kicker” that would take points through 3rd and 4th place. Logan played well and exited the weekend feeling much more comfortable about his chances in the new division than he was entering the weekend.
Our Gym’s youngest competitor, Georgia had her first go at the Junior division without her biggest obstacle, brother Logan, in her way. However, it appears that obstacle is going to be replaced by Pokemon’s new point system. Georgia spent most of the weekend being paired up with Senior division players (a tall order for a 7-year-old). She finished with a 1-3 record on Saturday (2 losses to Seniors) and in 4th place, but with no points. She finished 2-2 on Sunday and in 2nd place, but with no points. She finally broke through on Monday, taking 1st place with another 2-2 day and took home 15 championship points. It was good experience for Georgia, as the majority of her wins came over Senior division players (most of whom you could hear asking during the game, “How old are you?!?!”). However, it looks like one of her biggest opponents this year may be the new point system and its “kickers” that may or may not kick in depending on attendance at future events. By last year’s standards, Georgia would have around 35 points instead of the 15 that she earned for the weekend.
Gym Leaders Joel and Marthe had similar weekends, batting .500 by the time it was all done. We tried several new decks between us. To save some detail, for every deck that we ran through or in some cases, completely shut down, there seemed to be one out there that day that would shut us down. We saw some cool ideas and definitely saw ways to improve what we were playing. Here were the top decks we saw (in no real order, as we did not have time to track down who won each day and with what):
- “Hammertime” (Darkrai/Sableye/Hammer cards
- Empoleon/Mew EX/Terrakion (one w/Accelgor)
- Rayquaza/Rayquaza EX/Eels
- Mewtwo EX/Terrakion
There are several more weekends of Battle Roads coming up. Included in that is our own event held at the Fincastle Community Center. Here’s a list of what is still to come.
- Sept 8 (Saturday) – Richmond
- Sept 15 (Saturday) – Fairfax
- Sept 16 (Sunday) – Fincastle
- Sept 22 (Saturday) – Warrenton
- Sept 23 (Sunday) – Harrisonburg
- Sept 30 (Sunday) – Virginia Beach
The rest of the events in the Carolinas are in South Carolina, so if you are interested, check http://www.ncscpokemon.com/. As far as events that are feasible for players in our area, Fincastle and Harrisonburg are the closest events in Virginia.
Check back in a day or two for some exciting news about the league. See you at the Gym!